I'm writing this with two feet of snow on the ground, with more to come - and no hope of getting any of my bikes on the road for probably another month, at least. So I take what solace I can from thinking about Spring - and the new bikes soon-to-be-here.

Maybe this preview of the new/2010 stuff will make you feel a little better, too!

Sport bikes -

* 2010 Aprilia RSV4R/Factory (base price $15,999)

This V4 race-replica superbike is virtually the same machine ridden during the 2009 World Championship season by factory Aprilia racers Max Biaggi, Shinya Nakano and Marco Simoncelli.

It features one of the highest power-to-weight ratios of any liter-class superbike (180 hp, 405 lbs.) in one of the most compact packages on the road to give it brutal acceleration and superb agility. Aprilia says the RSVR4 has a profile only about as wide as current twin-cylinder bikes - and it sits lower than comparable 1,000 sport bikes.

The 999.6 cc V4 is a 65 degree design (vs. the more common 60 degree layout) with tripled mapped Weber-Marelli "ride by wire" throttle control. Aprilia says this provides more precise - and immediate - response to rider inputs than conventional cable-pulled systems. The system is rider-adjustable for different conditions, too: Track, which uncorks the V4's entire 180 hp with sharpest throttle response; Sport, which limits engine power output until the rider gets to fourth gear and also modulates power delivery so that unexpected wheelies aren't a threat; Road, which dials back the power to 140 and softens throttle response throughout the rev range. The Triple Mapped system makes the bike race-ready for the expert rider while providing a built-in cushion for riders who need a little time to get a handle on this bike's ferocious capability.

For more info about the '10 RSV4R and other Aprilia bikes, see http://www.apriliausa.com/

* 2010 Honda Interceptor VFR1200F dual clutch (base price $TBA)

"Innovative" is an overused term, but the original '80s-era Interceptor - with its famous gear-driven cams- was exactly that. Nothing else on the road was quite like it - and it paved the technological way for other bikes to come.

The '10 VFR takes up the baton of its ancestor, boasting one of the first dual-clutch automatics - with F1-style paddle shifters and full manual or full automatic control of gear changes - to be fitted to a production sportbike. A dual-clutch transmission can shift more quickly and precisely than most human riders - and is more consistently perfect in its shift timing than even professional racers. (Ferrari and other high-end performance car companies pioneered this technology in their race and later street cars.) But, if you still prefer to control everything yourself, the '10 VFR will also available with a conventional six-speed manual transmission. These versions will also get a slipper clutch - a feature that reduces rear wheelslip during hard gear changes.

V4 power lies under the tank, with about 130 hp on tap, according to preliminary reports. The 76 degree 1237 cc engine features a semi-staggered cylinder layout which leaves the engine cases broader up front and narrow toward the rear, which let the engineers create a tapered profile, slimmer waist - and narrower seat. This looks cool and it's functional - resulting in better ergos for the rider.

Speaking of which: The VFR is one of the few serious sportbikes that's built for more than 20 minute sessions on track days. The bike's "layer concept" fairing gives superb long-haul wind protection, all models come standard with saddlebag mounts (factory hard bags are optional) and comfort features such as heated grips and GPS are among the major factory options that can be ordered.

*2010 Suzuki GSX-R1000 25th Anniversary Edition (base price $15,000 - est. )

There have been many great sport bikes over the past 25 years but only one has been a consistently dominant presence over that entire timespan.

The Gixxer.

It radicalized the segment, bringing full-on, zero compromises race bike performance to the street - and very often, forcing others to play catch-up.

For 2010, Suzuki will offer an extremely limited run of 25th Anniversary Edition GSX-Rs. Just 1,000 of these special bikes will be made, each with an individually serialized number plate on its steering yoke. All 1,000 will feature Metallic Matte Titanium Silver frames and swingarms, Pearl Mirage White bodywork with unique yellow prismatic "25th Anniversary" badges on each upper fairing. Exhaust cans (both are super lightweight titanium) will also carry anniversary badging and both front and rear cast aluminum rims will be laser etched with "25th Anniversary" logos.

Functionally, the Anniversay Edition Gixxers will be the same as the standard model.

The 999 cc inline DOHC four is lighter and shorter than before and features slightly higher compression ratio (12.8:1 from 12.5:1 previously), enlarged titanium valves (31 mm intake, 25 mm exhaust) and shot-peened connecting rods for greater strength. Bore has been increased to 74.5 mm from 73.4 mm and stroke is significantly shorter, 57.3 mm from 59 mm previously. This more "oversquare" design (shorter stroke relative to bore) is designed for fierce throttle response and high-RPM power. The bike's 191 hp nicely matches its estimated 190 mph estimated top speed. Like the Aprilia RSV4R, the Gixxer features three-posiiton rider selectable power output (S-DMS).

The fuel tank is slightly lighter than in '09 but capacity remains the same at 4.6 gallons. A new-design multi-reflector headlight has been added as well.

The Anniversary Edition GSXRs will be available at dealers this spring but given the ultra-collectability and low production, if you want one, you might want to put down a deposit sooner.

As in, right now.

For more info about the Anniversary Edition GSX-R and other Suzuki bikes, see http://www.suzukicycles.com/

Nakeds -

* 2010 Norton Commando (base price $17,899)

Fully faired sport bikes satisfy our need for speed but the visuals sometimes aren't the greatest. Usually, you can't even see the beating the heart of the beast - its engine - under all that bodywork. And there's virtually no chrome or polish.

Plenty of function, not so much form.

That's not an issue with the new Commando 961. It's styled to recall the owner-customized Cafe racers of the late 1960s: Low handle bars, billet aluminum upper and lower steering yokes, gunfighter solo seat, wasp-waisted tail section and teardrop tank with what looks to be hand-applied custom pinstriping.

No shortage of chrome or polish, either. You'll need sunglasses as much as your helmet.

But it's also got function covered. Standard equipment includes fully adjustable Ohlins front and rear suspension, BST carbon fiber rims and high-performance Brembo calipers.

The big (961 cc) parallel twin, meanwhile, combines elements of the classic and the modern. It's air-cooled but fuel-injected, with crank trigger ignition and 300 watt high-output alternator/charging system. (No "prince of darkness" Brit Bike electronics on this Norton!) It produces an estimated 80 hp and works through a five-speed transmission.

Still, it's an elemental machine. No windscreen, for example - and not even a bikini fairing up front. And storage? That'll be whatever you can fit in your pockets. But it's a gorgeous piece of work - as much sculpture as machine. Add the Norton legend and expected very low initial production (just a few hundred bikes are slated for the North American market for 2010) and the end result is something many will covet but few will be fortunate enough to have in their garage.

For more info about the Commando and other Norton bikes, see http://www.nortonmotorcycles.com/

* 2010 Kawasaki Z1000 (base price $10,499)

"Z" bikes made Kawasaki famous - beginning in 1973, with the introduction of the Z1900, arguably the world's first superbike. The '10 Z1000 is the inheritor of the tradition begun back in '73, combining elements of semi-faired sportbike with the ballsiness of an in-your-face muscle bike.

The Z1000 is heavily updated - including the 1043 cc DOHC in-line four, which has been tuned for more top-end power (7,000 RPM and above) while retaining the strong low and mid-range punch of the earlier Z1000's engine. It features four Keihin 38 mm throttle bodies on downdraft intakes fed from ducting just ahead of the gas tank for a "ram air" effect, 11.8:1 compression and the same basic bore/stroke as the legendary ZX10-R Ninja powerplant (77.0 x 56.0 mm).

Rated horsepower is 138.

It still has the trademark megaphone cans but they're stubbier, mounted lower and lighter than before - with redesigned quad outlets.

A new aluminum (vs. steel tube previously) five-piece frame provides the skeleton. It was designed to be assembled with minimal welded points, both for aesthetic and structural reasons. The main frame and swingarm pivot areas are cast as a single unit while the rear subframe is a three-piece die-casting that's both light and strong, with a smooth, seamless appearance.

Suspension-wise, there's a new radial-pump master cylinder feeding radial-mount four-psiton calipers and fully adjustable 41 mm inverted forks up front. The rear suspension is also all-new, centered on a nearly horizontally mounted coil-over monoshock (also fully adjustable). Meaty ZR-rated Dunlop D210s are the standard tire.

This is a serious bike, both functionally and aesthetically. But with a more upright riding position and tubular one-piece handlebars instead of clip-ons, it's more comfortable for longer rides - and taller riders.

It comes painted either Metallic Spark Black or Atomic Silver.

For more info about the '10 Z1000 and other Kawasaki bikes, see http://www.kawasaki.com

* 2010 Triumph Rocket III (base price $16,999)

This bike is a category-buster. It's big and brutal, so it could be a cruiser. But it has the muscle (and performance) of a sport bike - and the semi-faired appearance of a naked.

So it's a bike that lets you have your cake and eat it, too - all three ways.

First, there's the hulking monster of an engine to deal with: a 2,297 cc triple. To get a handle on how huge that is, consider that each cylinder displaces close to 800 ccs by itself. The beast belts out 146 horsepower and 163 ft-lbs. of torque at just 2,750 RPM - a 15 percent uptick compared with the '09 model and (Triumph claims) more total torque than any current production bike offers.

Pity the back tire... it won't have a long life.

Everything about this bike is menacing - from the "mean and moody" color choices (your choice of Phantom Black or Matte Black) to the threatening stance to the sheer massiveness of the thing - all 807 pounds. It says "get out of the way" like a mechanical Arnold.

Other improvements for 2010 include an updated rear suspension with all-new twin-tube shocks, revised seat height and peg location, plus standard ABS (with Brembo calipers).

For more details about the Rocket II and other Triumph bikes, see http://www.triumph.co.uk/usa/

Cruising/Touring/Choppers -

* 2010 Honda Fury (base price $12,999)

Honda is considered a pretty conservative company overall, so it's pretty amazing to see this bike come to life as a factory-built and fully-warranted reality instead of just a show-bike fantasy.

It is a radical machine: forward-strutting front forks (38 degree rake), extended wheelbase (71.24 inches), teardrop tank and billet everything (almost). Massive 200 series rear tire on an 18 inch rim, skinny 21 inch rim and 90-series tire up front.

Seat height is low - 26.7 inches - with forward controls and pegs for that Easy Rider riding posture. It looks like a hardtail, but there's a fully functional rear suspension with adjustable mono-shock hidden back there somehow. You can't even see the radiator hose. It's been tucked beneath the front valve cover, completely out of sight.

Pretty much the only thing missing are the ape hangers (even Honda won't go there). But these could be added to the bike if you wanted the Full Experience.

Power comes from a throbby 1300 cc liquid-cooled SOHC V-twin with single-pin crankshaft (to give it those power pulses every true chopper must possess) working through a wide-ratio five-speed and shaft drive.

But the best part about this bike is that as back street as it looks, the Fury was put together by a team of the world's best engineers in state-of-the-art facilities with quality control few one-offs and hand-builts can match.

For more info about the Fury and other Honda models, see www.honda.com/

* HD CVO Ultra Classic Electric Glide Darkside LE (base price $36,499)

"CVO" is short for Custom Vehicle Operations in Harley-speak. It's a new line of bikes that includes the CVO Fat Bob, CVO Electric Glide, CVO Electric Glide Dark Side LE, Streetglide and CVO Softail Convertible.

All of the new CVOs are enticing, but the Darkside LE is the kind of bike you'd consider cashing out your 401k to ride off into the sunset on. The whole bike is Darth Vader Black, except for a little bit of chrome trim on the tank top and gauge surrounds. A Gloss Black Rumble Collection and low-profile smoked windscreen complete the effect. All told, the LE has some 185 unique-to-this-bike trim pieces and accessories.

The force will be with you, too, as you twist the throttle and let loose the Screamin' Eagle 110 cubic inch (1803 cc) air-cooled twin. As Harley people know,this is the largest displacement V-twin you can get from the factory. It produces 115 ft.-lbs. of torque at 3,750 RPM - just the ticket for hauling this 900-plus-pound machine down the road without stressing. A big six gallon tank (and 43 miles-per-gallon on the highway) let you cruise for hours between pit stops.

You could live on this bike, almost. Among the amenities: Heated leather seats, Garmin Road Tech Zumo 660 GPS, 160 watt Harman Kardon stereo with satellite radio and MP3 player (and separate controls of the passenger), CB and intercom, cruise control, security system, ABS, LED saddlebag lights

Only 999 CBO Darkside LEs will be built, each serialized - making them instant collectibles as well as instant classics.

For more info about the Darkside LE and other Harley models see: http://www.harley-davidson.com

* 2010 Ural Red October (base price $13,500 - est. )

The Soviet Union is long gone, but bits and pieces of it still survive - including the Ural motorcycle.

These bikes - built in Siberia and designed to cope with the poor roads and brutal conditions of the steppes - come with sem-enclosed sidecars, an air-cooled boxer twin (some say cribbed from an old BMW design), spoked wheels, "tractor" seat (seriously) and drum brakes (rear). It's simple, even primitive - but don't forget, that's how the Soviet Red Army beat back the technologically superior German Wehrmacht.

Fittingly, the '10 Ural Red October commemorates the glory days of Soviet Russia. Unlike the camo-patterend Urals one usually sees this one is draped in revolutionary red - with hammer and sickle logo on the rear tool box. It also features an extra-low 3.89 final drive ratio and special 18-inch Uralshina tires. It's not an off-roader but the bike can handle gravel and unpaved/dirt roads (including mud) that would entomb a normal bike like the 6th Army at Stalingrad.

With just 40 hp on tap from the 745 cc flat twin - working through a 4-speed transmission (with a reverse lever on the fuel tank) the Ura is not built for speed. But it is ready to go almost anywhere, anytime - and carry two in reasonable comfort.

Climb aboard, Tovarich... .

For more info about the Red October and other Ural models, see: http://www.ural.com/

Dual-Sport/Off-road -

* 2010 Suzuki RM-Z250 (base price $7,199)

Look ma, no carbs!

The '10 RM-Z250 is the first 250 cc four-stroke Suzuki motocrosser to come with EFI, which boosts power and improves throttle response - plus no need to adjust the jets for different altitudes. The water-cooled 249 cc DOHC four can rev to a buzz saw-like 13,500 RPM, with air and fuel pouring in through a huge 43 mm throttle body. An interesting feature is that the bike's fuel pump is not battery driven. Instead, a small magneto-generator keeps the juice pumping after the bike has been started. This saves weight - and should increase battery life.

More than just the engine has been upgraded, too. Lower frame tubes are thicker and a new-design swingarm has a revised center brace designed to give better traction. Spring damping rates have been adjusted, too. The front end is comprised of 47 mm Showa inverted forks with 22-way compression damping, 20 way rebound damping and 300 millimeters of total suspension travel. There's an adjustable Show monoshock out back, too.

To cap off the package, there's a new graphics package - red, black and white, with black background number plates - to offset the Black/Champion Yellow bodywork.

For more info on the RM-Z250 and other Suzuki bikes, see www.suzukicycles.com

* 2010 KTM Electric Enduro (base price: $5,500 - est.)

Presented as a concept bike last year, it appears that a production version of this electric dual-sport will be available this spring/summer.

Advantages: Lighter than an equivalent 250 cc machine (preliminary reports say under 200 pounds) and about 30 lbs.-ft. of torque - all of it available immediately (with a piston engine, peak torque comes on higher up the RPM scale). Zero emissions qualified, runs silently and has no gasoline or hot exhaust pipe to possibly cause a fire - so it should be legal to use in areas where internal combustion bikes are not allowed, such as parks and national forests.

Disadvantages: KTM estimates a 40 minute riding window before the lithium-ion batteries will need recharging. If you're out in the woods - or anywhere else not near a charging station - you're out of luck. Recharge time is about an hour - or about 58 minutes longer than it takes to top off the tank on a conventional IC bike. Higher cost - probably about 20-30 percent more than an otherwise similar 250 cc machine.

That said, KTM knows dirt bikes and dual sports better than just about anyone and this bike looks promising - especially if you happen to live near a restricted riding area that's currently not open to motorized ( read: internal combustion) vehicles.

For more info about the KTM Electric Enduro and other KTM models, see http://ktm.com/